Formed 2004 ... Herts 7s U14 Runners-up 2005 ... North Herts U14 team, Herts Youth Games 2005 runners-up (coached by Letchworth)... Herts Superteams U14 Runners-up 2005 ... Herts SuperTeams "Fairplay" winners 2006 ... Rochford 10s U17 Champions 2006 ... East Midlands 10s U17 Runners-up 2007 ... East Midlands 10s U17 "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... National 10s U17 5th place and "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... Herts 7s U17 Plate runners-up 2007 ... National 7s U17 Plate winners 2007 ... RFU "President's XV" Award winners 2007 ... Herts Superteams winners 2007 ... Midlands 10s U18 Runners-up 2008 ... National 10s U18 4th place 2008 ... North Herts U11 team, Herts Youth Games 2008 runners-up (coached by Letchworth girls) ... London and SE 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2008 ... Herts 7s U18s runners-up 2008 ... National 7s U18s quarter-finalists 2008 ... Gloucester City 10s U18 Bowl runner-up (6th) 2009 ... Worthing 10s U18 Plate runner-up 2009 ... National 7s U18 Plate winners 2009... Worthing 10s U15 Plate winners 2010... Worthing 10s U18 Shield winners 2010... Herts 7s U15 and U18 Bowl runners-up 2010... National 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2010...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How to turn round a big defeat

A few days ago the Australian women's rugby team suffered their biggest lost for 10 years, a 37-3 pounding by their nearest neighbours, New Zealand. The fact that their opponents are world champions probably did not help much as the Wallaroos had gone into the game pretty confident. They also finished the game knowing that they would have to play the Black Ferns again only four days later.

That could be a reason for letting your head drop a bit, but instead the Australians rallied superbly to the extent that what was effectively the same team found themselves, a few minutes into the second half, 10-8 ahead - probably the first time the Australians have ever taken the lead in this 13 year-old 10-match series.

They did not quite manage to hold on, but nonetheless this team of relatively inexperienced newcomers finished only 8 points adrift of their rivals, going down 22-16 - the closest result ever in the series. It all shows what passion and determination can do (match report here).

This two game series also shows what a bit of publicity can do. The second test, early this morning our time, drew a passionate and loud crowd of over 1200 to the small Viking Park stadium in Canberra, almost filling its main (well, only) stand. The coverage the series has had in the Australian (and to a lesser extent New Zealand) press has been very good indeed - such as this article here that contrasts the life of an Australian women's international with her male equivalents. They may not have won the series against the Kiwis, but the Australians do seem to have won the battle to be taken seriously by Australian sports journalists - and that should give them a great base to develop their game. All they need now is some funding and Australia could well be a surprise packet at England 2010 - they already think they can win the sevens world cup next year!

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